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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

HISTC^IY   AND    HUMAN    RELATIONS

very much to be said in favour of holding this particular
idea as, so to speak, one of the ribs in the framework of
our general European history, and it seems to me*that
for over a period of fifteen hundred years the threat from
tke East was almost the only menace to our civilisation
that came near to being a mortal one. It had long been
my feeling that we should have to come back to that
structural idea ourselves, and if I am not mistaken,
Mr. Churchill has already given expression to the view
that there is a Western Civilisation that must be defended
against the less civilised East. An off-print that I have
recently received from America suggests that the same
basic idea has begun to affect the framework of European
history in some quarters there. To those who have
tried to picture the Germans as the eternal aggressors
it might be answered indeed that there never was any
danger to European civilisation like that which for
century after century came via the Black Sea region,
which culminated in the Mongols and Turks, which
remained a menace till the close of the seventeenth
century, and which was only still being thrown back
as the Turks were shouldered out of the Balkans in the
nineteenth and twentieth centuries* The minds of men
are prone to deadly inelasticities and we are perpetually
repeating the kind of error we made in 1814-15, when
we thought of France as the perpetual aggressor.

One of the aims of the study of history is to secure
that we shall be less the prisoners of such inelasticities;
and that, by taking long-term views and broader surveys,
we shall transcend the outlook of a given Foreign
Office that is bound to be engrossed by immediate

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